As many of you probably know, Liguria is a rather impervious land, where it is not always easy to reach places such as beaches or small coves. Often, to get there, you have to follow tracks that are not straight, but the beauty of some places is worth a little effort.
The small village of Monesteroli, close to the sea and the beach of Punta Corvo, both in the province of La Spezia, are the perfect example of how nature always pays your efforts back. In fact, to reach both of them, you must climb two long and uneven flights of stairs that from the top of the hill descend to the sea. They are ancient routes, witnesses of the effort of those who built them. Needless to say that the view along the route is breathtaking.
Let’s examine them, one by one.
The Scalinata Grande (Long Stairway) in Monesteroli
It consists of two thousand steps that from the top of the hill, reach the sea; hence, its name Scalinata Grande (or Della Gionda) is absolutely appropriate. Obviously, you have to be rather fit to travel all those steps, especially when you are climbing.
Monesteroli is a small fishing village in the Tramonti area between Riomaggiore and Porto Venere, built on the cliff overlooking the sea, like in the Cinque Terre. Today, it mainly consists of holiday homes. You can reach it from the sea or on foot.
Start from Campiglia, on the outskirts of La Spezia, and take Trail 4B, a track that runs through the vegetation. In this walk, the sea will always be close to you, and take a good look: offshore, you can see the islands of Palmaria and Tino. Once you reach a stretch of asphalt road, where you meet a small house, keep on descending. Soon after, you will find the signs to Trail 4D. If you’re thirsty, you can drink fresh water from the ancient fountain in Nozzano. Keep walking on flat ground for a while, until you see the track turning into steps that descend almost vertically to the sea. This is where the real hard work begins, but it is also the best part of this excursion, surrounded by the vegetation of the hill, and with the sea just before your eyes. Keep on descending until you reach Monesteroli. But the stairway is not done yet: there’s still a stretch to take, if you want to reach the sea. If you wish to dive once you reach the bottom of the stairway, ask the local guides if the last stretch has been fixed, since the soil collapsed a while ago.
In any case, wherever you’re going to stop, you will feel like suspended over the hill, surrounded by greenery and the sea.
Along the stairway leading to Monesteroli, you can change course and reach Fossola, another very interesting place.
Punta Corvo, the stairway and the beach
The steps to reach the Punta Corvo beach, in the territory of Ameglia, are not two thousand, but seven hundred. This beach is one of the most charming of the Levante Ligure (Liguria East Coast), for its fine, dark sand that creates a contrast with the blue of the sea: the result is amazing. It is another of those places difficult to reach, a beach surrounded by rocks, but it’s worth the effort, also because it is a free beach.
The walk takes about thirty minutes. Start from one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy, Montemarcello, located on the top of Monte Caprione. The trail, marked by the post 3D, begins before the Café Giardino and runs through the streets of the village. Soon after, you will meet the actual descent, running through Mediterranean pine trees and holly oaks. Be careful in your descent, because the steps, all handmade, are uneven; they are made of wood and stones, and some are dug into the ground. In your descent, you can spot the sea and then you plunge into beauty; at the horizon, on your right hand side, you can see the islands of Porto Venere, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, while on the other side you see the Tuscan coast of Versilia.
The contrast between the dark color of the beach and the blue of the sea is unique scenery.
If you don’t feel like walking, there’s a ship that makes daily runs from the marinas of Bocca di Magra and Fiumaretta.